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What is LIHTC Senior Housing (and Do I Qualify)?

Housing | May 31, 2023

Small models of LIHTC income-restricted housing on a calculator.

No matter what your age, finding a home that fits within your budget can be a challenge. It can be especially tricky for seniors on fixed incomes to find apartment homes that meet both their needs and their budget.

Low-income tax credit housing, also commonly referred to as income restricted or tax credit housing, is designed to help ease this burden and give seniors with a limited budget an affordable place to stay. Learn how tax credit housing works and whether or not you qualify.

What is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit?

As you may expect from the name, tax credit housing is tied to the low-income housing tax credit. Commonly abbreviated (LIHTC), this tax credit is a federal government program created to encourage builders and developers to focus on properties that will be affordable to those making less than the average median income (AMI).

The Different Types of LIHTC Housing

Tax credit housing can refer to a wide variety of residential buildings. Different businesses or landlords can manage these properties, including:

  • Single-family dwellings
  • Duplexes
  • Multifamily buildings
  • Apartment buildings
  • Townhouses

While tax credit housing can come in all of the above forms, some organizations may only offer certain types or have different locations for different properties. For example, one senior living community may only offer townhouses whereas another may have a mix of apartments and free-standing homes. If you like a certain community, make sure to double check what types of properties they have to make sure it works for your needs.

It’s also important to note that general LIHTC housing is meant for people of all ages. However, there are communities and other properties that are specifically for senior housing. These types of properties will have some form of age requirement and provide a place where you can live around other like-minded individuals enjoying their retirement years.

Who Qualifies for Low Income Senior Housing?

In order to live in income restricted housing, seniors and any other individuals need to meet some basic requirements. Each person must pass an income requirement test before they apply to any waiting lists or can live in a residence.

The exact details of income eligibility depend on where you want to live. Income requirements are based on your annual income and the area’s median income. The most common properties require you to earn less than 60% of the median, but there are plenty of communities that are at 70% or 80% as well.

Certain properties may even have tiers that range down to 30 percent. You’ll want to contact any senior housing communities or other affordable housing properties to see what their requirements are before you get too far in the application process.

Can Anything Disqualify Me from Living in LIHTC Senior Housing?

The income test is the main qualifier for anyone looking for low-income housing, but there are several other factors that can cause a community to deny your application. Common disqualifiers include:

  • Bad credit report – Many LIHTC properties will review your credit before accepting you as a tenant. Properties won’t necessarily require a high credit score, but they may deny you if your report shows multiple red flags, such as frequent missing or late payments.
  • Poor rental history – Properties may request a list of where you’ve lived in the past, along with landlords or property managers that they can contact. Payment problems, frequent complaints, and other issues as a tenant can be cause for denial.
  • False information – Applicants are required to provide information about themselves. If your application has misleading or false information, odds are that you’ll be disqualified from that particular property.
  • Criminal record – Having a criminal record doesn’t result in immediate disqualification, but it can make the process more difficult. Each housing authority operates differently, but the severity, frequency, and recency of criminal activity are typically taken into account. For example, felons, people with a history of activity, or those with recent convictions may be deemed ineligible.

Where Can I Find Income-Restricted Housing for Seniors?

Whether you’re looking for independent living or some other type of senior accommodation, it’s important to find the right place to call home. The first step is to find a community or some other property that fits your ideal location and needs.

National Church Residences offers a variety of different income-restricted properties in 26 states. Ready to see if we have any locations near you? Use our online community finder to find a community near you. Each community may offer different types of properties, so contact the community to see what income-restricted properties are available and complete an application.

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National Church Residences does not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, payment source, or any other class protected by applicable law, whether in employment or its activities, programs, or services. National Church Residences also does not discriminate based on age, except as required by government entitlements or permitted by applicable law for seniors.